A Walk in the Park — Cook’s Cottage — Australia’s Oldest Building And More — Melbourne Walking Tour Part 3
I have collected at least six Melbourne Walks track at Federation Square Visitor Centre. Each track is printed in one page back to back with jam-packed of brief but helpful information that anyone can easily follow by anyone that wanted to see Melbourne by walking. Federation Square is the starting point of the walk so anyone should not be lost with the help of GPS in smart phone or with just the map and tracks included in one pager brochure.
“A Walk in the Park” track includes cathedrals, parklands and Flinders Lane. I did not follow the whole route but I still used the brochure as guide.
From Federation Square, I walked along Flinders Street towards Wellington Parade road. I reached Lansdowne Street and started my pace slowly when I found the Fitzroy Gardens. Based on the brochures that I was holding on that time, Fitzroy was more 150 years old since the date that it was laid-out. I also learned that the name of the garden was came from Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy, Governor of New South Wales and Governor General of the Australian Colonies.
I checked the brochure again and my eyes were searching for something. I was specifically looking for historical structure within the garden. I was looking for Cook’s Cottage, the childhood family home of famous British explorer and navigator Captain James Cook. I only know one thing about Captain James Cook, that he is one of the recognized discoverer of places and countries such as Australia.
I walked continuously while looking around. I passed the Conservatory building and decided to see it later. I found interesting reading stuff along the way — that is Captain Cooks Pine, a tree that recognized and admired by Captain James Cook during his voyages. Next thing I saw was the tree they called as “A Great Australian Tree” which is Moreton Bay Fig (a tree named after Earl of Morton and President of Royal Society). The tree is quite familiar to me because I saw the same tree which is considered very old one when I was traveling around Adelaide City.
A Great Australian Tree
Near the said tree, is the Cook’s Cottage. From outside, anyone can see the house but to see what’s inside of it requires an entrance fee. The amount is minimal, at that time that I visited last June 2013 the fee was $5 AUD. I went to the entrance and paid the fee since I was eager to see what’s inside the cottage and curious to learn more about Captain James Cook.
Within the fences that surrounds Cooks’ Cottage, there are
I entered the cottage to start my discovery of the family and childhood home of Captain James Cook. I entered the door where there is stone with inscription of “JGC 1755” above it. I strolled around the ground floor of the house. The short corridor was the first thing that I saw. A hallway that passes through the other side since there is another door on it.
Stone with Inscription
Hallway or corridor
Next, from hallway I saw the 18th century English kitchen in a farm households. Beside the kitchen is a bedroom that displays the typical bed at that time.
Clock in the kitchen which used to wind once a day
I moved to the second floor of the cottage to continue my exploration in once home of young James Cook. The stairs have narrow width and upstairs I was greeted with another bedroom.
Bed with warming pan (which equivalent of the modern electric blanket)
As per booklet that I had, the main bedroom served as family bedroom and visitors bedroom.
After enjoying the discovery of the home of young James Cook, I went down and walked outside towards garden. The garden was designed to at least matched the 18th century garden. Within the garden, there is the statue of Captain James Cook which depicts almost the same height of the famous navigator.
Captain James Cook statue
Outside view of Cook’s Cottage
The 18th Century Toilets
Some vegetables, plants and flowers in the hedge.
As I walked around outside the cottage, I was not aware there’s a store within the cottage. That part of the cottage is the single-storey part. I entered the room and got excited to see more stuff about Captain James Cook. That store is called Discovery Centre where anyone can buy souvenirs all related to Captain James Cook.
I stayed a while at Discovery Centre and read some stuff. I found a huge map with lighting’s that displays Captain James Cook 3 major navigation tracks which made me realized that he traveled to lots of places almost around the world and I admit he can be considered one of the great explorer of all time.
Probably someone is wondering, why the house of young Captain James Cook now stands in Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne wherein the life of the captain was never happened in Melbourne. I also learned that Cooks’ Cottage was originally built in Great Ayton, North Yorkshire England and it was moved to Melbourne as part of Victoria’s state centenary in 1934.
As per history from the Cooks Cottage booklet that I got from Visitors Centre, when Cooks family left the cottage, there were families lived there from time to time. Dixon family who was the owner of the cottage at that time put the cottage on sale and when the news heard in Melbourne, Australian historian Hermon Gill put the idea to the Council for Melbourne’s Centenary and Russell Grimwade — a council member decided to buy the cottage as gift for the people of Victoria. At that time, Dixons family rule on the cottage not to sold “outside England” was changed to “outside Empire”. And the process of dismantling, recording, moving and rebuilding of the cottage followed. It was an amazing stuff to discover how the cottage now stands in Melbourne which very far from England.
After exploring Cooks’ Cottage, I continued discovering the other stuff in Fitzroy Gardens and nearby buildings around the area.
When I got a chance to walk around the garden, I can say that it’s a great place to unwind for a moment if you wanted to be away from city life. Its a recommended place for walking and jogging, I can say Melbourne has a lot of place like this and Fitzroy Gardens is just one of them.
When I saw the building its not noticeable at first because of it’s size. As per garden’s website, the cottage is a small structure that has Italian Romanesque design wherein in 1866 Melbourne City Council allowed the tender of Thomas Crowson to build cottage for 520 pounds. The building still survives up to our times and had been home before of James Sinclair one of the famous horticulturist, whom designed and developed the Fitzroy Gardens itself, a very interesting history.
A building with Spanish mission style design within the garden that housed different flowers. I just learned from garden’s website that the building is more than 80 years now as it was built last 1930. The structure existed as part of city’s dedication to horticulture.
- Structures Around Fitzroy Gardens
My walk continues beyond the garden and I saw some government buildings. The Treasury Precinct which consist of New Treasury Building and Old Treasury Building. My photo collections of these buildings are only external photos since I never got a chance go inside these buildings. The Precinct has significant role in the government since these buildings was built. Before, the Old Treasury Building used to store the colony’s gold during Gold Rush and had been offices of Governor, Premier, Treasurer and Auditor General.
New Treasury Building
New Treasury Building which captured from Lansdowne Street
Old Treasury Building
Old Treasury Building captured from MacArthur Street and Spring Street
As I am looking for the information of the statues that I captured while walking around the Treasury Precinct, I learned some stuff that made me admired these people.
George Higinbotham Statue
Below is the excerpt that I got from another website featuring what kind of person was George Higinbotham when he was alive.
Mr Higinbotham (1826–1892) started his career as a reporter, before serving as Attorney General and then as Chief Justice. He was born in Dublin in 1826 and migrated to Melbourne at the age of 28. His first job in Australia was as the editor of the Argus. He was very much seen as a man ahead of his time and radical in his views. He believed in religious education, reconciliation with indigenous Australians, the Eight Hour Movement and supported women’s sufferage (to name a few). He refused to take the £500 salary as Chief Justice and furthermore declined a knighthood. Lieutenant Governor Sir Fredrick Mann, speaking of Higinbotham, recalled ” no man did more to bring about the full development of the principles of responsible government in this country.”
Statue of Sir William John Clarke (found beside Old Treasury Building in Treasury Gardens)
I am truly amazed when I learned that John Clarke was only 19 years old when he designed the Old Treasury Building, by just looking at the building, I never thought that the person had the style of the building is just teenager, a very profound discovery.
Originally published at thehiddenpanorama.com on September 26, 2016.